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Michigan Gaming Control officials fulfill Hazel Park Raceway request to cut 2015 race meeting dates

Northville Downs offers extended racing season through November

Detroit – Michigan Gaming Control Board officials issued an order today at Hazel Park Raceway’s request to halt the 2015 live thoroughbred race meeting at the conclusion of live racing on Aug 8.

With the early stoppage, Hazel Park Raceway will fulfill 30 of its 40 thoroughbred race dates granted for 2015. Hazel Park Raceway’s 2015 thoroughbred race meeting began May 1 and was scheduled to end Sept. 12.

“Hazel Park Raceway requested 40 days of live racing, which we granted,” MGCB executive director Richard Kalm said. “We were disappointed to learn there are insufficient funds available to race beyond Aug. 8. This is an unfortunate and serious matter.”

MGCB is investigating why HPR did not fulfill its obligations under the law. Kalm indicated it appears to be a matter of overspending, and the MGCB does not suspect malfeasance or misspending.

Kalm said the thoroughbred purse pool was depleted rapidly this season. At a public hearing last year, the Michigan Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, which has a contract with HPR to race thoroughbreds, indicated it would need approximately $51,000 per night from the purse pool to race.

However, significantly more money—sometimes approximately $75,000 per night—was being taken from the purse pool for some of this season’s thoroughbred races at HPR.

Live standardbred racing will resume at Northville Downs in August and continue through November 2015, Kalm said. Northville Downs hosted standardbred races from February to mid-July 2015.

Kalm noted that, according to the Michigan Horse Racing Law of 1995, over $1 million is available for standardbred racing should the Michigan Harness Horsemen’s Association sign a contract with HPR in the future.  

“The MGCB remains willing to work with HPR management if it can find a solution to its financial challenges,” Kalm said. “However, the MGCB must work within the framework of state law. We encourage all of the parties involved in the horse racing industry, including the tracks and the horsemen’s associations, to cooperate to best meet the challenges faced by the industry.”

"The Michigan Gaming Control Board shall ensure the conduct of fair and honest gaming to protect the interests of the citizens of the State of Michigan."